Canada

Métis Culture Celebrated with New Offices and Cultural Spaces

Michael Oleksin/Daily Herald Shelly McLennan (center) is surrounded by those who attended the grand opening as she cuts the ribbon at the new cultural gathering place on Friday.

The Metis Nation’s Second Western Region — Saskatchewan has a new home to celebrate their culture after Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new office, located on Central Avenue across from the Northern Lights Casino, is more than just an office, said Sherry McLennan, Regional Director, Western Region 2. It is also a place for cultural gatherings.

“We didn’t have that in our other offices just because they were smaller, but now we have the opportunity to host all our events here and[and]help more citizens with different things. I can do it.

“We now have the ability to host community events and partner with the city, YWCA and police.”

The building will still have office space for administrative work, but McLennan said he needs more than that.

“We basically want a place where people know it’s a Métis building,” she explained. I’m going to put the flag on the roof of the building and get a better sign.”

McLennan wants the building to give people a sense of belonging and identity that they can walk inside and “feel like a second home.”

The area will host craft classes, jigging classes, and other cultural events. McLennan said it would also be a place for people to heal from past trauma.

“Our people are hurt in many ways, but[the office]allows that healing to begin,” she explained. there is.”

McLennan added that the building is not just for Metis people. She said the Prince Her Albert Teachers Association meets here, as does Aboriginal Head Start her program. The Ministry of Social Services will also provide training on site.

McLennan says the old office is familiar to everyone, having previously served as the office of the Gabriel Dumont Institute.

“It kind of makes sense to go to that office,” she explained. We can do something for young people, families, elders, and everyone.”
Elder Max Morin delivered the opening prayer on Saturday, and Mayor Greg Dionne brought greetings from the City of Prince Albert. There were also impromptu speeches by Prince He Albert Police Sergeant Lisa Simonson, YWCA Donna Brooks and Northern Lights Casino Richard His Ahena Cue.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Northern Prairie Dancers performed at a ceremony celebrating the new cultural meetinghouse on Friday.

Tim Dyke played the Meti National Anthem and other music in the afternoon. He also had a cake and a tour of the building.

Metis Nation President Glenn McCallum was scheduled to attend, but did not attend the ceremony.

The dancers at the event were the Northern Prairie Dancers, who performed jigging and invited crowd members for jigging lessons. McLennan said it would be great if the building could host his dance lessons for young people as a way to revive traditional Métis culture.

“When I was younger, I would go to weddings and everyone would be dancing and everything was going great,” she said. “Now our children don’t even know who each other is.”

Before the ribbon cutting, there was a greeting from Youth Representative Cody Demerais.

The process to open the building began in July. Since then it has been extensively remodeled.

“It used to be home hardware, and then it had been vacant for a long time, so I made a deal with people and asked if I could turn it into this,” McLennan said.

Also, the building had to be rezoned from commercial to non-commercial.

“I don’t think it’s a lumber yard. There was also a lumber yard outside. There’s a fenced lot there with some storage space,” McLennan said.

McLennan himself is happy that the building is up and running.

“It really resonates with me because we Meti people get to know who we are as Meti people.”

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca

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Métis Culture Celebrated with New Offices and Cultural Spaces

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